Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Review of Calpholon Garlic Press from CSN Stores

Even before my endeavors in cooking from scratch, I had begun to use garlic a lot. I spent three summers in Peru in my single days, and had the opportunity to visit there a couple of years ago with my husband to visit old friends and even explore more of that beloved country. While we were there, I learned first hand from a wonderful Peruvian woman how to cook some of my favorite Peruvian recipes, including Lomo Saltado. That's when garlic became a regular thing in our kitchen. I was using so much, I tried to prep and store it like my Peruvian friend, which was to get a whole bunch of it, chop it up in the blender, and store it in a sealed jar. I found it hard to process and store like that so often I was just peeling and chopping it which is very time consuming and difficult. I also discovered that you could buy already minced garlic in jars, which was very appealing to me even though I want to cook with fresh ingredients as much as possible. Finally I learned of the existence of the garlic press. I'm aware that it's not a new invention, but I'm fairly new to all things kitchen, so I was pretty excited!

I debated much over which garlic press to review from CSN Stores. Finally I settled on the Calphalon Garlic Peel and Press because I hate peeling the garlic even more than chopping it! It's hard to get and it gets stuck under your fingernails and often even cuts the skin.
Among the many recipes we love that involve garlic, Vietnam Fried Rice from More With Less Cookbook happens weekly around here. The first step is to sautee some garlic so I took some pictures of how this press works while I was at it.

Here it is fully extended so you can the piece that presses the garlic.

You just insert the garlic into the chamber. This is a small clove of garlic, but I tried bigger ones too and it worked great.

Then just center the press over the garlic.

And squeeze! The garlic will stick to the bottom so I just take a fork or butter knife, or whatever utensil is close by and wipe it off into the wok.

When you open it you can see the skin still there. It's easy to peel right off, usually with one swift pull.

I truly have no complaints about this press. It's made my life in the kitchen so much simpler. It's such a small thing, but saves multiple steps to preparing a FRESH from scratch meal while also saving my fingers from smelling like garlic and getting the peel under my fingernails.

I love the fact that it is dishwasher safe and has a lifetime warranty! The soft handles make it comfortable to use as well.

I also wanted to share my experience with CSN Stores. This was my first time going through the check out process and I was truly impressed.

The things that I liked the most were:

-CSN Stores asks you to share for each product if you have found that product for cheaper elsewhere. Therefore, the prices are always competitive and often lowering. As a frugalista, I dig that.

-The check out process was smooth and user friendly. I had a promotional code to use for the review items and I didn't have to wonder how to use it. Everything was very clear.

-I was REALLY excited about how quickly everything shipped! No need to stalk the mailman when you order from CSN Stores. I would definitely recommend CSN Stores and would use them for future purchases myself.

This is not a paid post. The opinions expressed are entirely my own. I received this product at a reduced price due to a balance left on my promotional code (gift card). You can see my general disclosure here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Vintage Zoo Reusable Sandwich Bags-Put to the test

I've been quiet for a while about sewing projects as preparing for my cloth diaper events this fall has taken up most of my free time.

However, I have been putting my reusable sandwich bags to the test! A while back, I made more of these bags out of this adorable vintage zoo toile fabric. They are lined with PEEVA tablecloth material and have an aplix closure. I have been using these bags both for carrying Lydia's baby food, bib, spoon, and napkin in her diaper bag. I've also been using one of the original bags for Lydia's Bummas wipes and solution. This sandwich size bag is perfect for sandwiches, but as you see it can be used other ways as well. Below you can see it flat with the baby food and accessories sitting beside it for size reference.

Here you can see it stuffed with the baby food, bib, and spoon.

After at least 2 months of use, I've found it to do the job very efficiently. It's easy to wipe out and since we're phasing out of paper towels, I've found the paper towel holder great for hanging the sandwich bags on to air out!

If the outer fabric gets soiled, you can hand wash it and let it hang dry. I'm using Charlie's Soap All Purpose Cleaner for my hand washing!

There are many more of these in the works! I just love this fabric, don't you?

Bummas and ChicoBag Winners!

Winner of Bummas Cloth Wipes, out of a whopping 470 entries....

#155 :
Danielle and Adrian Neer said...

It is great that one Bumma will soak up an entire pee.
danielle.neer (AT)

Winner of the ChicoBag Produce Stand Starter Kit Giveaway, out of 207 entries...

#16:fluttermama said... I commented on Is Cloth Diapering really that hard?
flutterbyenature at yahoo dot ca

Congratulations Winners! I hope these prizes will be a great blessing to you!

*Winners have been confirmed.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

SodaStream Soda Maker {Menu Plan Monday}

My husband and I really like soda. I know, I's horrible for you. That's why we no longer keep it in our house. We do, however, make excuses for buying a soda about once a week if not more. It's horrible on the wallet that way, but if we bought it by the case we'd drink way too much. Soda is my one consistent frugal failure. Thank goodness for the zero-based budget and envelope system that we learned about from Dave Ramsey (more on that on Frugal Friday), we now have a set limit for even sodas.

Now that you know our weakness, you can appreciate our excitement at winning a SodaStream soda-maker from Michelle at All Home Cooking All Year Long's giveaway! We've been having a blast with it this weekend!

Is it incredibly frugal? No. You do have to buy the flavors when you run out, and replace the bottles and carbonation eventually, but meanwhile you do still come out spending less.

Is it incredibly green? No. However, it will definitely decrease the amount of plastic bottles we would be throwing away. We still have to throw out flavoring bottles and eventually carbonating bottles (they expire every 2 years or so), but we'll be using significantly less than we would by buying sodas.

Is it healthy? Probably not. But the flavors do not use aspartame or high fructose corn syrup, but rather regular sugar and Splenda, and less of it at that. So it is healthier, if you would be drinking soda anyway.

Is it fun? YES! We have really enjoyed trying different favors and being able to make our own soda. I've already made some for guests!

Does it work? YES! The soda tastes great. It's much easier than I thought it would be. It only takes a few minutes to prepare.

So, regardless of frugal or not frugal, green or not green, healthy or not healthy- I STILL get to scratch yet another item off my shopping list! (Not that guilty pleasures actually get on the shopping list officially)...So scratch soda off my mental shopping list!

Now for this weeks menu plan. We have lots of bean sprouts that grew successfully in the colander this week so I'll be using some recipes to incorporate those...

Monday: Kusherie (Egyptian Rice and Lentils) (More With Less, pg. 108)

Tuesday: Quick Chop Suey (More With Less, pg. 133)

Wednesday: Crusty Mexican Bean Bake (More With Less, pg. 101)

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Easy Curry over rice (More With Less, pg. 136)

Saturday: Vietnam Fried Rice (with leftover rice from Friday) (More With Less, pg.130)

Sunday: Fellowship then off for Lydia's first visit to the beach! Bojangles or something extremely unhealthy and not frugal will probably be on the menu. :) I'll try to take some things to keep us from buying too much bad food though. :)